Barack Obama finally sat down with Bill O'Reilly. The first segment of the interview was aired last night. (Am I the only who can't help noticing the timing?) I didn't get to watch the interview, but a full transcript is available here. Here is an excerpt on the topic of Iraq. The emphasis is mine.
MR. O'REILLY: I think you were desperately wrong on the surge. And I think you should admit it to the nation that now we have defeated the terrorists in Iraq. And the al Qaeda came there after we invaded, as you know. Okay, we've defeated them. If we didn't, they would have used it as a staging ground.
We've also inhibited Iran from controlling the southern part of Iraq by the surge which you did not support. So why won't you say, I was right in the beginning, I was wrong about that?
SEN. OBAMA: You know, if you've listened to what I've said, and I'll repeat it right here on this show, I think that there's no doubt that the violence in down. I believe that that is a testimony to the troops that were sent and General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker. I think that the surge has succeeded in ways that nobody anticipated, by the way, including President Bush and the other supporters. . . .
MR. O'REILLY: If it were up to you, there wouldn't have been a surge.
SEN. OBAMA: No, no, no, no. Hold on.
MR. O'REILLY: You and Joe Biden -- no surge.
SEN. OBAMA: No. Hold on a second, Bill. If you look at the debate that was taking place, we had gone through five years of mismanagement of this war that I thought was disastrous. And the president wanted to double-down and continue on open-ended policy that did not create the kinds of pressure in the Iraqis to take responsibility and reconcile --
MR. O'REILLY: It worked. Come on.
SEN. OBAMA: Bill, what I've said is -- I've already said it succeeded beyond our wildest dreams.
MR. O'REILLY: Right! So why can't you just say, I was right in the beginning, and I was wrong about the surge?
SEN. OBAMA: Because there is an underlying problem with what we've done. We have reduced the violence --
MR. O'REILLY: Yeah?
SEN. OBAMA: -- but the Iraqis still haven't taken a responsibility. And we still don't have the kind of political reconciliation. We are still spending, Bill, 10 (billion dollars) to $12 billion a month.
MR. O'REILLY: And I hope if you're president, you can get them to kick in and pay us back.
So, the fact that our military was able to go in and do what it was given to do surprises Mr. Obama? I bet the man who survived five years in a Vietnamese prison wasn't surprised.
So much for the candidate of "hope."